High-stakes, high-speed, and—at times—high-stress, the workings of the world of law are supported by the efforts of paralegals and legal assistants. These law professionals help lawyers prepare for hearings and trials, draft documents, and coordinate electronic materials, such as emails, accounting databases, and websites related to a trial or investigation. They gather case facts and dig into related laws and regulations, write up reports, and schedule meetings and interviews with witnesses, lawyers, and others. Not all paralegals work with trial lawyers … Corporate paralegals help prepare employee contracts, shareholder agreements, and financial reports. They stay current with regulations to give up-to-date information. Paralegals also specialize in areas such as criminal law, intellectual property, immigration, and family law. Most paralegals work for law firms. Some are employed in government or the finance and insurance industries. In small firms, paralegals’ have more varied duties and their work lasts the duration of a case… while in large firms, paralegals may focus on a particular phase of a case. Most paralegals and legal assistants work full time in an office environment, adding overtime to meet deadlines. They may occasionally travel for research or preparation for trials. Most employers prefer applicants who have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor’s degree in another field, sometimes with a certificate in paralegal studies.
What they do:
Assist lawyers by investigating facts, preparing legal documents, or researching legal precedent. Conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.
On the job, you would:
Prepare affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system.
Prepare legal documents, including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts, and real estate closing statements.
Prepare for trial by performing tasks such as organizing exhibits.
Arts and Humanities
Safety and Government
law and government
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
reading work related information
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
read and understand what is written
communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Document management software
Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
Information retrieval or search software
American LegalNet USCourtForms
Data base user interface and query software
Data entry software
associate's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.